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Thread: D-55 string gauge

  1. #1

    D-55 string gauge

    I'm going to be bringing my D-55 in for a setup and the installation of an endpin jack for a soundhole pickup. Curious as to what gauge others use on a D-55. I've always used 12s or 13s on my guitars (even my 12 string), but my fingers and hand are not what they used to be. I'm wondering if there would be a degradation in tone or sustain with 11s, don't need to worry about volume as if I start to gig again, I'll have the pickup. Anyhow, don't want to have to change strings a couple of times to hear for myself, so just wondering what others have found.
    TIA,
    Brad
    F212: 1964 ,AA: 1975 ,Mark V:1975 ,F50:1976, D-55,1979; X170:1986, F-40:2007, F512:2010, Godin ACS:1999, Giannini 7-string classical, Epi Korean Howard Roberts Custom:1995, Pawless Mesquite Special, 2012. My trio's site: http://bradbilljanet.blogspot.com/

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Little View Post
    I'm going to be bringing my D-55 in for a setup and the installation of an endpin jack for a soundhole pickup. Curious as to what gauge others use on a D-55. I've always used 12s or 13s on my guitars (even my 12 string), but my fingers and hand are not what they used to be. I'm wondering if there would be a degradation in tone or sustain with 11s, don't need to worry about volume as if I start to gig again, I'll have the pickup. Anyhow, don't want to have to change strings a couple of times to hear for myself, so just wondering what others have found.
    TIA,
    Brad
    hey brad. i say stick with the .12-.53 for the dread. .11s do lose some tone and power, volume too, as i tried this on a santa cruz i had a while back. 11s just are not the same. i do not lose a lot from 13s to 12s, but 12s to 11s, yes, from my experience. ymmv.
    Wood

    1971 D25--The Br
    1973 D35--Jalopy

    https://soundcloud.com/woody-adams/sets/not-metal

  3. #3
    Senior Member adorshki's Avatar
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    I'm notorious for my running joke of "EJ-16's (.012-.053) on everything!", but I'm very sympathetic to the aging hand thing, and for that reason I'll say the D'Addario EJ-26 Custom Lights are definitely worth trying, they're .011-.052.
    My concern is that '79's supposed to be the "built like a tank" era and .11's may actually be too light to drive the top well.
    Yeah I hate changing strings too but in this case I think it's worth a try.
    I use 'em tuned down a whole step on my F65ce which was designed for .010's (!) but those're just too darn thin for me, and I'm even considering using 'em on my D25 since right now I have EJ-16's tuned down a whole step on it, with very little loss of volume but significantly improved playability.
    So .11's at standard pitch might be just the thing for your current needs.
    Al
    "Time May Change the Technique of Music But Never Its Mission " - Rachmaninoff
    My 1st Guild: '96 Westerly D25NT "Hally" (10-31-96 stamped on heelblock)
    #2: '01 Westerly F65ce "Blondie"
    #3: '03 Corona D40e Richie Havens "Richie"
    All bought new!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Grassdog's Avatar
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    Another vote here for the D'Addario EJ-16's (.012 - .053). I tried the custom lights (.011 - .052) and I was underwhelmed
    '73 D-40
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  5. #5
    Thanks all. I guess I'll have it set up for 12s, never cared for the sound of lighter strings, or the playability for that matter.
    F212: 1964 ,AA: 1975 ,Mark V:1975 ,F50:1976, D-55,1979; X170:1986, F-40:2007, F512:2010, Godin ACS:1999, Giannini 7-string classical, Epi Korean Howard Roberts Custom:1995, Pawless Mesquite Special, 2012. My trio's site: http://bradbilljanet.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Little View Post
    Thanks all. I guess I'll have it set up for 12s, never cared for the sound of lighter strings, or the playability for that matter.
    and what i like about the EJ16s versus Martin SPs or John Pearse PB lights, is they are softer feel and easier to bend and play/not as stiff. Martin has the .25 G and the .54 E and that does make a smidge of playability difference. especially on a spruce topped flagship D55, the D'Adarrio PB 12s will be as close to complimentary perfection as you are gonna get.
    Wood

    1971 D25--The Br
    1973 D35--Jalopy

    https://soundcloud.com/woody-adams/sets/not-metal

  7. #7
    Senior Member dreadnut's Avatar
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    I've switched over to EJ-19's on my dreads - light tops, medium bottoms, .012 - .056
    "Heat lightning burnt the sky like alcohol." John Prine

    '76 D-25M
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by dreadnut View Post
    I've switched over to EJ-19's on my dreads - light tops, medium bottoms, .012 - .056
    but that will not help finger pad pain, as the top 3 strings are medium gauge. and from my experience, unnecessary to drive the top, especially on a D55. those tops move when you breathe on them so the EJ16s will be plenty, yet solve for aging fingers.
    Wood

    1971 D25--The Br
    1973 D35--Jalopy

    https://soundcloud.com/woody-adams/sets/not-metal

  9. #9
    Senior Member adorshki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Little View Post
    Thanks all. I guess I'll have it set up for 12s, never cared for the sound of lighter strings, or the playability for that matter.
    And in case you've missed previous discussions, a '79 D55 was just about guaranteed to have been shipped with D'addario's either 12's or 13's, as Guild was the first supplier to use the D'Addario's when they were introduced in '74, possibly even a year or so earlier before D'Addario "officially" went to market with the new formula.
    Suspect actually 13's at that time, (recently saw a tag from an early '80's D46 here that showed M450's (13's) installed) but by mid '90's (and suspect earlier, maybe even late '80's) Guild had standardized on .12's, their L350's were D'Addario EJ-16 except they used an .025 G instead of an .024.
    I discovered all that when Fender changed their string supplier in the early '00s, and to this day have always bought an extra D'A PB025 single to sub into the EJ-16's.
    Last edited by adorshki; 02-08-2019 at 05:56 PM.
    Al
    "Time May Change the Technique of Music But Never Its Mission " - Rachmaninoff
    My 1st Guild: '96 Westerly D25NT "Hally" (10-31-96 stamped on heelblock)
    #2: '01 Westerly F65ce "Blondie"
    #3: '03 Corona D40e Richie Havens "Richie"
    All bought new!

  10. #10
    Thanks all. I've used D'Addario PBs on my guitars almost since they were introduced, so I'll probably go with the EJ-16s. may try the .025 G as well.
    F212: 1964 ,AA: 1975 ,Mark V:1975 ,F50:1976, D-55,1979; X170:1986, F-40:2007, F512:2010, Godin ACS:1999, Giannini 7-string classical, Epi Korean Howard Roberts Custom:1995, Pawless Mesquite Special, 2012. My trio's site: http://bradbilljanet.blogspot.com/

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